Last night featured a pair of battles between winless teams in interdivisional matchups. Despite the Stampede going on in town, Calgary finds themselves on the road in Winnipeg after both fought close battles in Week 1. Further out west, the Hamilton Tiger-Cats looked to get the franchise back on the right track as they take on B.C. Lions at the soon to be Olympic Stadium.
Calgary 30 @ Winnipeg 42 – This one was a lot closer than the final score indicated. The defending Grey Cup champs were in a second straight game with a final quarter offensive explosion. This time, they were the ones piling on the points. But a poor first half showing made their effort all for naught.
The home town Bombers got on the board on the first drive of the game. A 5 play drive was capped off by a 24 yard field goal by Alex Serna. After a Calgary two-and-out, the Bombers scored on their second drive of the game. This time Stefan Lefors tossed an 8 yard pass to Terrence Edwards for the score. The Stamps did get the next two scores but neither for majors. Sandro DeAngelis lofted a 45 yard field goal near the end of the first while Burke Dales punted a 62 yard rouge that rolled out the side of the end zone to make it 10-4. The home side widened the gap before the half was out. First, Serna put home a 40 yard field goal before missing a 50 yarder wide right with less than two minutes to go. In the dying seconds of the half, Lefors was able to hook up with Edward again. The 12 yard TD pass made it 21-4 for Winnipeg at the half.
The boys from the ‘Peg kept rolling at the start of the second half. Lavarus Giles bowled home 2 yards for the major to kick off the scoring six minutes in. From there, the Stamps would mount the comeback. Near the end of the third, Joffrey Reynolds rumbled home 1 yard for the major but Calgary missed the two point conversion attempt. The Stamps would keep it rolling on their next possession. Henry Burris called his own number for a 1 yard TD run to cap off a 99 yard, 15 play drive. This time they were able to connect on the two point convert as Burris hit Ken-Yon Rambo to make it 28-18 for the Bombers. However, Winnipeg would seal the deal when Siddeeq Shabazz picked off Burris and took the ball 36 yards to the house. The Bombers would add insult to demolition with a Lavarus Giles 4 yard run for the major. The Stamps would get a couple of majors in the final two minutes. Backup QB Barrick Nealy hit Jermaine Copeland from 25 yards out and Teyo Johnson from 12 out but they weren’t able to make the two point converts.
It was a tough night for the quarterbacks. Henry Burris may have been 25/39 for 247 yds but he gave up 3 picks. Stefan LeFors was 13/27 for 156 yds with 2 TDs and 1 interception. Nealy had a relatively good night but 5/9 with 2 TD was due mostly to Winnipeg bringing in the backups. Siddeeq Shabazz arguably was the best player in Winnipeg with 6 tackles and the one interception for a touchdown.
Hamilton 31 @ BC 28 – It was a near miracle in Vancouver as the Tiger-Cats picked up their first win in five years on the road in B.C. The win wasn’t an easy one. The game was close the whole way along and the Lions made things very interesting at the end.
Surprisingly, it was the Ti-Cats that found the board first. Nick Setta kicked a 51 yard field goal that just cleared the uprights for the early lead. The Lions wouldn’t stay down for long. On the very next drive, Buck Pierce completed a 29 yard TD pass to Paris Jackson to get the lead. Two minutes later, Nick Setta couldn’t repeat his early game feat when he missed a 49 yard field goal but managed to get the rouge. As time expired on the first quarter, Pierce found Geroy Simon for a 5 yard TD strike. The second quarter started with more Lions as Paul McCallum missed a 45 yard field goal for a single. Then the Tabbies went on the offensive to close the half. First, QB Quinton Porter did it himself with a 12 yard run for the major. Then Nick Setta made his second field goal of the night with a 42 yard effort to make it a tied game at 14-14 heading into the half.
Amazingly, Hamilton took the lead at the start of the second half as well. Geoff Tisdale picked off Pierce and took it back 43 yards to the house. The Tabbies added to their lead when Setta nailed a 22 yard chip shot to give Hamilton a 10 point lead heading into the final 15 minutes. The Lions sunk their teeth into the scoreboard first in the final frame. Jarius Jackson ran the final yard into the end zone to cut the lead to three. But a few minutes later, Porter dialled long distance for DeAndra’ Cobb who made the catch for a 48 TD catch to restore the 10 point lead. However, to paraphrase an old catchphrase of mine, anything can happen in the CFL. Buck Pierce redeemed himself for the earlier interception by completing a TD pass to Emmanuel Arceneaux to return the lead to three points. After a Hamilton 2-and-out, the Lions looked like they would be able to exploit a short field and at least the tie the game but it wasn’t to be. Buck Pierce was picked off by Otis Floyd to end the game.
The Tiger-Cats can thank big efforts by QB Quinton Porter (19/24, 222 yds, 1 TD Pass, 1 TD Run) and rookie RB DeAndra’ Cobb (100 yds rush, 75 yds receiving, 1 TD rec) for the win tonight. As for the Leos, it’s back to the drawing board. They have to cut down on mistakes. They outgained the Ti-Cats 437-355 but lost the turnover battle 2-0. Those turnovers killed the supposedly better cats.
Offensive Player of the Night:Quinton Porter (HAM) – 19/24, 222 Yds, 1 TD, 55 Yds Rush, 1 TD Rush
Defensive Player of the Night:Siddeeq Shabazz (WPG) – 6 Tkls, 1 Int, 1 TD
Saskatchewan Rough Riders (1-0) at Toronto Argonauts (1-0)